People of the Book (Ahl Al-Kitab)

The Qur’an calls a group of people “the People of the Book” Ahl Al-Kitab. Who are these people? What do they believe?

The members of the divine religions like Judaism and Christianity are called “Ahl al-Kitab” (the People of the Book). The people of the Book are mentioned a lot in the Quran, for example:

“There is a community among the People of the Book who are upright. They recite Allah’s Signs throughout the night, and they prostrate. They believe in Allah and the Last Day, and enjoin the right and forbid the wrong, and compete in doing good. They are among the righteous” (Al-Imran 3: 113-114)

“Among the people of the Book there are some who believe in Allah and in what has been sent down to you and what was sent down to them, and who are humble before Allah. They do not sell Allah’s Signs for a paltry price. Such people will have their reward with their Lord. And Allah is swift at reckoning.” (Al -Imran 3: 199)

“Those who believe, those who are Jews, and the Christians and Sabaeans, all who believe in Allah and the Last Day and act rightly, will have their reward with their Lord. They will feel no fear and will know no sorrow.” (Al-Baqara 2: 62)

“Those who believe and those who are Jews and the Sabaeans and the Christians, all who believe in Allah and the Last Day and act rightly will feel no fear and will know no sorrow.” (Al-Maida 5: 69)

“And dispute ye not with the People of the Bookو except with means better (than mere disputation) unless it be with those of them who inflict wrong (and injury): but say ‘We believe in the Revelation which has come down to us and in that which came down to you; Our God and your God is one; and it is to Him we bow.'” (Al-Ankabut 29: 46)

“Strongest among men in enmity to the Believers wilt thou find the Jews and Pagans; and nearest among them in love to the Believers wilt thou find those who say: ‘We are Christians:’ because amongst these are men devoted to learning and men who have renounced the world, and they are not arrogant.” (Al-Maida 5: 82)

Concerning the People of the Book, the Qur’an commands Muslims to rally to a common formula, “O People of the Book! Let us rally to a common formula to be binding on both us and you: That we worship none but Allah; that we associate no partners with Him; that we erect not, from among ourselves, Lords and patrons other than Allah.” (Al-Imran 3: 64)

Ahl Al-Kitab believe:

  • that Allah created the entire universe out of nothing and that He rules all the creation.
  • that Allah created man in a miraculous way out of the ground and breathed His breath into him causing him to become a living soul.
  • that besides Jesus and Moses, Allah sent many prophets such as Noah, Abraham, Isaac and Joseph throughout history, and they love all these prophets.
  • In the signs of Allah.
  • In the Last Day, resurrection, Heaven and Hell and angels, and that Allah has created our lives with a certain destiny that will be revealed at the Judgement Day.
  • In what is right and forbid what is wrong, and compete in doing good.
  • Living a healthful life abstaining from drinking alcohol and eating unlawful foods like pork.

The People of the Book stress the importance of moral values. Today, in a world where such immoralities as adultery, homosexuality, drug addiction and a model of egoism and self-seeking cruelty have grown widespread, the People of the Book advocate honor, chastity, humility, self-sacrifice, honesty, compassion, mercy and unconditional love.

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